The 12th annual Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge (OCC) took place in George on Saturday, with a record 1046 athletes crossing the start line.
In the men’s open paraplegic 42.2km marathon, Ernst van Dyk (Maties Helderberg Club) managed to cling onto his winning position for the third consecutive year with a time of 1:08:36, shaving 57 seconds off his winning time in 2013. Only one second behind van Dyk was Andries Scheepers (Rustenburg Multi club), while third-placed Stuart McCreadie (Maties Helderberg Club) was a mere eight seconds behind the leaders.
Van Dyk has competed in every single OCC race since the event’s launch 12 years ago.
Speaking on the winner’s podium, Van Dyk praised the event organisers and fellow competitors and said he dedicated this race to Esther Watson, the founder of the OCC, who passed away in November 2013. ‘ I recall how she contacted me many years ago with the idea of creating a wheelchair race, and how excited she was about it. The first race took place in 2002 with 27 athletes, and look what a huge event it has grown into today.’ Van Dyk said Watson made a huge difference in people’s lives.
The women’s hand cycle open paraplegic marathon was won by Justine Asher (Maties Helderberg Club) in 01:44:11 with Hillary Lewis (2013 winner) in second place and Elizabeth McTernan from UK, third.
Ghana’s Maclean Dzidzienyo won the racing chair male open T53/54 in 02:01:49 with Elford Moyo from Zimbabwe in 2nd place and South Africa’s Gerrit Hendricks finishing 3rd. This was the first year that an athlete from Ghana raced in the OCC.
Sixteen-year old TiaanBoshoff won the junior men’s hand cycle open paraplegic half marathon in 00:41:11. This is the first year that Boshoff was allowed to take part in the 21km race due to his age. In 2013 he won the 10km race.
Matthys Roets, well-known Afrikaans singer and song-writer, won the 10km in the ordinary day chair category. This was his third OCC.
Die 12de Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge (OCC) het Saterdag in George plaasgevind met ‘n rekord 1046 deelnemers by die begin streep